The goal of this assignment is to get you to think about how films seek to combine entertainment with social and political commentary. In no more than one single-spaced, typed page, discuss the ways in which depictions of Indians (and Indianness) in The Searchers communicates issues of American identity. Please include at least two detailed examples of how the film relates to course readings (Kilpatrick, Turner’s Frontier Thesis, Nolley, or Cawelti) concerning racialization, gendered parameters, and/or the binary of civilization vs. savagery (wilderness).
You do not need to answer all of the following questions, but they may serve useful in organizing your thoughts and subsequent analysis of the film:
*How are Indians and Indianness framed?
*How is the binary of civilization vs. savagery framed? How does this relate to American identity? How does the Western genre present the myth of American identity and the West?
* What patterns of racial “purity” and miscegenation do you observe in the film? Why are Ethan and Laurie so concerned about this?
* What parts of the film resonate the most to you and why? Do these parts of the film elicit an emotional response and if so, what? Why do you think you react this way?
The reference book is Celluloid Indians(Native Americans and film) written by Jacquelyn Kilpatrick